Meet the trustees

Debbie Watters OBE - Chair, council trustee

Debbie is the founder member and Co-Director of Northern Ireland Alternatives, a community based restorative programme based in Belfast and accredited by the Department of Justice. She has 28 years’ experience in restorative work having spent 5 years managing a restorative programme in the USA and then moving home to Belfast to start Northern Ireland Alternatives as part of the wider peacebuilding process. She is a former Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and a visiting Professor at Ulster University. Debbie has trained and taught extensively in restorative justice both at an academic and community level.

Debbie has been to the forefront of the development of restorative justice in Northern Ireland including the introduction of restorative justice in arenas other than justice such as schools; churches, welfare, care and youth sectors. She also has a wide range of international experience in South America, South Africa, Israel/Palestine and the USA where she currently advise at Boston University on issues related to policing, conflict resolution, restorative and criminal justice. She developed a training programme and trained every probation officer in Northern Ireland in restorative justice.

Janet Clark, membership trustee

Janet became a membership trustee in July 2018. Involved in restorative practice since 2001, Janet is an experienced trainer, consultant, practitioner, assessor and published author in restorative practice. Janet is an Accredited Practitioner with the RJC and an A1 Assessor for restorative practice.  Janet managed the award-winning Restorative Approaches in Schools (RAiS) project in Bristol and has supported a number of schools, education and youth settings, and other agencies in implementing restorative approaches. Janet delivers training, consultancy and facilitation in a wide variety of settings, including youth offending services, the police, probation, educational settings and community mediation. As a volunteer practitioner, Janet brings an extensive background of hands on experience to the Board.

Hardyal Dhindsa, council trustee

Hardyal was Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) up to May 2021. Nationally, leading for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) on 2 portfolios - alcohol and substance misuse, as well as equality, diversity, and human rights (EDHR), focussing especially on hate crime, stop and search, Workforce Diversity and Policing Diverse Communities. Prior to this as Deputy PCC (2013-16), he led on setting up Derbyshire PCC’s commissioned Victims Support Services, including the first Restorative Justice Practitioner Service, one of the biggest in the country. He is a strong advocate for an accredited restorative justice service to be available for all victims of crime and championed it’s use for all crimes and stages in the criminal justice process.

His passion for supportive victims and diverting offenders from crime is built on working over 30 years in the criminal justice sector; including managing Nottinghamshire’s victims’ Liaison team, mostly in strategic management roles for the probation service. He has been a Derby City Councillor since 1993, currently representing the inner-city ward of Normanton. He as held Cabinet posts in social care and health, education, planning and leisure; and Scrutiny Lead roles for Communities and Neighbourhoods.

Rebecca Rushton, membership trustee

Rebecca was re-elected as membership trustee in November 2020. A qualified and accredited restorative practitioner with 13 years’ experience working across a range of criminal justice, community and social care settings. Rebecca is currently the Restorative Practice lead in the Learning Academy for Torbay Council with a remit of embedding restorative practice across children’s social care. Rebecca brings a wealth of front line practitioner and trainer experience to the board, and continues to volunteer for Make Amends the PCC commissioned Restorative Justice Service for Devon and Cornwall. Rebecca has a particular interest in facilitating complex and sensitive cases.

Philip Cawley, membership trustee

Phil was elected as a membership trustee in November 2020. After teaching in Chester for 2 years, Phil joined the Lancashire Constabulary in January 1982 and he served with them until his retirement in October 2011. He rejoined as a member of police staff in the role of restorative justice co-ordinator. Phil was instrumental in the expansion of the Lancashire police RJ team which also runs victim awareness courses in Lancashire prisons and he later became the manager of a number of co-ordinators and volunteers. Phil is the lead RJ trainer and since November 2017, his role is to promote RJ across Lancashire Police and with other agencies and partners.

Sarah Cairns, membership trustee

Sarah became a Membership Trustee in November 2020.  A qualified and accredited practitioner she has facilitated interventions across a range of criminal justice, community and education settings over the last 11 years.  Specialising in complex and sensitive casework involving harmful sexual behaviour, homicide and arson Sarah brings a wealth of practitioner experience to the Board.  Sarah continues to volunteer for Restorative Gloucestershire, a multi-agency partnership, and is also an experienced trainer and mentor with a particular interest in supporting multi-agency professionals to work restoratively with vulnerable children and families to improve outcomes.

Dr Jon Hobson, membership trustee

Dr. Jon Hobson is a senior academic at the University of Gloucestershire where he teaches and researches  in issues around restorative justice restorative practice. Jon has been involved in restorative justice in various capacities for around ten years, working to help demonstrate the benefits and impacts it can have for victims, offenders, and for organisations. This includes work across a range of sectors, including work with the police, in supported housing, in prisons, in schools and education, and restorative justice in countries struggling with the impacts of war and conflict. Jon sits on of the board for Restorative Gloucestershire, supporting organisation in its work across a broad range of statutory and community groups.

Kira Le-Botos, membership trustee

Kira has been a restorative practitioner for 15 years and brings a wealth of restorative practice knowledge and experience in education, youth justice, social care and mental health, complimented by her cultural knowledge of the international restorative community. She prides over well-tailored, solution focused evidence-based restorative practice interventions and creative implementation of restorative principles.

In Hungary Kira was the restorative Supervisor and Trainer for the MH Lyceum Foundation Secondary School for Mental Health and managed the successful ‘Year Zero’ restorative programme for at risk young people. Kira has worked with numerous schools, delivered facilitator training and providing consultancy on embedding restorative practices. In the UK Kira is a restorative practitioner at Brent Youth Offending Service where she has been involved in reviewing and implementing restorative processes and training. She facilitates complex and sensitive cases and ensures that victims of youth crime have access to restorative justice.

Dr Anamika Twyman-Ghoshal, council trustee

Dr Anamika Twyman-Ghoshal became a board appointed trustee of the RJC in February 2024. Anamika is a senior lecturer in criminology at Brunel University London. Her work focuses on the intersection of power, systemic injustice, social harm, and deviance in a globalised world, including research on decolonisation, antiracism, and restorative justice/ practice. Her restorative justice research has included evaluating police run restorative services, collating evidence and measuring the effectiveness of restorative practices, using restorative and decolonised research methods, and broadening representation in the restorative sector. Beyond her academic interest in restorative justice, she was a restorative justice practitioner in the United States and is the co-founder of the community-interest-company, Restorativ, which looks to make restorative justice more accessible through the use of technology. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Restorative Justice.

Gifford Sutherland, council trustee

Gifford is the founder and Chief Executive of UpskillU, a national CPD Training Consultancy and grassroots restorative organisation. He has over 15 years’ experience in restorative work, co-founded the Black Restorative Network and has run or led several successful charities and community organisations specialising in working with young people involved or affected by Youth Violence and Child Criminal Exploitation as well as tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). He has frequently consulted on government advisory bodies/initiatives addressing youth violence, VAWG, knife crime, as well a Race Equity and Diversity. Gifford is a practising Trauma Therapist trained through the Tavistock NHS Trust, qualified counsellor, business and life Coach and a Master NLP Practitioner.

As a Restorative champion Gifford’s ambition is to help create a restorative society where restorative principles and approaches become an integral part of everyday life.